Colt sets out profit plan

The new boss of telecoms group Colt today mapped out a path to profitability by pledging to become one of the top-three firms in each of its urban markets.

The new boss of telecoms group Colt today mapped out a path to profitability by pledging to become one of the top-three firms in each of its urban markets.

Jean-Yves Charlier, who took over as chief executive last month, said Colt needed to regain its place as an “innovating force” for the small business and corporate markets.

His comments came as the telecoms group unveiled narrower losses of £31.8m (€45.7m) for the three months to September 30, against £35.7m (€51.3m) a year ago.

The improvement followed a 7% hike in revenues at constant exchange rates to £303.7m (€436.2m), although price cuts on a string of products and rising costs maintained a squeeze on earnings.

Shares in Colt have halved in value since July as weakening demand for its data services forced a succession of profits warnings.

But the publication of the “Future in Focus” path to profitable growth by Mr Charlier failed to shore up investor confidence as shares slipped a further 3% today.

The document stressed Colt would target faster revenues growth and positive cash flow, meaning it can generate enough money to run the business without incurring debt.

Colt operates in 32 European cities and is aiming for a place among the top three telecoms firms in each metropolitan area.

Mr Charlier said these targets would be achieved by focusing on its fibre-optic network, while further costs would be eliminated from the business.

“We have a clearly defined roadmap that builds on the core strengths of our pan-European backbone,” he said.

Colt employs 1,000 staff at its head office in London and at network operations in Manchester and Birmingham.

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